By Luke Krausse
Tyler Henderson, LC Bird
Tyler Henderson has developed into a leader on a 16-win L.C. Bird team. The lone senior on the roster and the team’s point guard, the 5-9 standout scores well and is just as good at distributing the ball.
“Tyler has been consistent, and [he] has been our leader all season.” said Bird coach Troy Manns. “He continues to put us in positions to be successful, and has excellent execution throughout the games and [notably with] the three-point shots.”
Manns is looking forward to a long postseason run with his point guard, and he has been pleased with his play.
“Tyler has nothing to work on; I cannot ask him to do anymore than he has already done,” Manns said. “He is out here playing with freshman and sophomores and he is the only senior; Tyler has led us to the success that we have had and has done a great job.”
With L.C. Bird’s excellence over the past decade, Henderson and the Skyhawks are aiming for a state championship. A long playoff run will have colleges lining up. For now, schools are interested but Henderson is still waiting to get that first offer.
“Tyler is a worker,” Manns said. “Wherever he decides to go, he will be successful.”
But first, the Skyhawks have the 5B region tournament to attend to.
Jordan Carpenter, Matoaca
If you are looking for a local Division II or III women’s college basketball player in the making, then check out Matoaca’s Jordan Carpenter. The senior is one of the Warriors’ top options. She’s the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, and she is a consistent double-double threat.
“Jordan is a communicator, defensive player and leader,” said Matoaca head coach Glenna Lewis. “She averages four or five blocks per game, works really hard, and leads her team in minutes played.”
With her last high school season coming to an end, Carpenter is looking forward to the postseason the most.
“Getting through the regular season, we work hard throughout the beginning, middle, and end, but the playoffs are where we can shine the most,” Carpenter added.
The 5-9 senior has received interest from both Division II and Division III schools to play this fall. She has received full rides to Shaw University and Claflin University. She’s also been offered roster spots by Mary Washington, Bridgewater, Averett, Roanoke College, and Shenandoah.
“Colleges would want Jordan because she is just a great all-around player, [and a] great teammate. She works really hard, she is goal-oriented, and is an all-around good player and person,” said Lewis. “Any school would want to have her play for [its team].”
Kylon Lewis, Thomas Dale
Lewis, a 6-3, 165-pound guard, has been a consistent contributor and a key part of Thomas Dale’s success this season. The junior has led his squad to a 17-4 record. He came up with a big performance against a top-notch Hopewell team, scoring 12 points and added eight rebounds in the victory.
“Kylon’s performance was outstanding,” said Thomas Dale coach Keyode Rogers. “He stepped up in the biggest moments of the game, he took the criticism we needed him to take, and he did the things we needed him to do to win the game.”
Lewis’ strengths are that he attacks hard and that he attacks well, Rogers said. “Normally we try to put him on a better offensive player to limit their attack,” said Rogers. “He’s an all around guy for us, he has to do a lot of things, and he works really hard.”
With his senior year still to come, Lewis is looking to be a high D2 to low D1 player in college. “He still has one more year of eligibility; someone just needs to take a chance on him,” added Rogers. “He is still growing both physically and as a player.”
Maya Ellis, Meadowbrook
If you’re a fan of scoring, go catch Meadowbrook’s Maya Ellis. Ellis has scored over 30 or more points seven times, including a 40-point performance January 30 vs. Colonial Heights. The junior scored her 1,000th career point against Dinwiddie last week.
Those figures put Ellis at the top of Meadowbrook’s scoring list, as well as that of region 5B. In addition to her scoring, coach Daniel Connor believes that Ellis is a well-rounded player, excelling on the glass, at controlling the ball, and on defense.
“She impacts the team by playing multiple positions,” Connor said. “I can trust her to play anywhere on the court, which will open up many different spots for other players.”
Even with one season left to play before she graduates, Ellis has many different colleges interested. Those schools include William & Mary, Jacksonville State, Campbell, and Christopher Newport. Connor said that Ellis could potentially develop into a Division I prospect at the mid-major level.
“If Maya improves her upper body strength and footwork this summer, then she will have a lot more to offer to the colleges that would want to recruit her,” Connor said. “Colleges would want Maya because she can play in multiple positions and can shoot the ball with both hands if needed.”